Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Making Sauerkraut

The best time to make sauerkraut is after the FIRST FROST, according to the oldtimers up here.So, I plant a later cabbage that's ready for pickin' in the fall. They say making kraut in the summer "Don't turn out right".
A meat cleaver chops up your cabbage great & quickly into workable chunks. I soak these chunks in a very well cleaned sink filled with cold water.Pick out the bad spots & put aside for livestock pail.Then I stick it in a vegetable chopper .The leaves are wet & dripping with cold water & makes the kraut processing moister.Layer about 4 qts chopped cabbage at a time. Sprinkle kosher salt ( not iodized-it will discolor your cabbage) over the top layer & tamp it down well. I use a wooden hammer to press it down.Then you're ready for the next layer.Repeat the process- each of my layers is 2 vegetable processor bowls, then more salt 1/4 c. maybe a little less.Tamp down & repeat till your out of cabbage.Cover with a layer of cheesecloth .Fill a fairly heavy duty plastic bag with a few qts or gallons of water( depending of the size container you're using).Tie it well & place on top of cabbage to keep air out.THAT WORKED THE BEST OF ALL!! Cover with plate or lid.If you see mold or gunge accumulating on the top layer, skim it off & toss it, but don't worry about it being bad. The batch beneath is fine & fermenting.It will take 4-6 weeks.I keep mine in the kitchen so I don't forget it. When it's ready, peel off the layer of cheesecloth & throw it away. A few inches of kraut may need to be tossed because of discoloration or mold. Keep what's below it. It's great! Can it or freeze it. I can mine.These pics were taken with a batch I made using the outer dark green leaves as well.My husband liked it better when I tossed the dark green leaves to the livestock or used it for pigs in the blanket.So, I don't use those outer leaves anymore.

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